dark        

Review: Frog Fractions 2

0

Expecting the unexpected

First things first: This review is full of spoilers. The review itself is a spoiler. If you don't know if you want to play Frog Fractions 2, stop reading. Heck, if you've never played Frog Fractions, go do that right now before you take in anything else on it. It's free.

There is a very real chance your enjoyment of Frog Fractions 2 will be diminished the more you read about it. There is a very real chance your enjoyment of Frog Fractions 2 will be diminished by simply knowing you're playing Frog Fractions 2.

And that's its biggest hurdle.

Frog Fractions 2 (PC)
Developer: Twinbeard
Publisher: Adult Swim Games
Released: December 24, 2016
MSRP: $19.99
Rig: AMD Phenom II X2 555 @ 3.2 GHz, with 4GB of RAM, ATI Radeon HD 5700, Windows 7 64-bit

Frog Fractions 2 has been a nebulous idea hanging over our heads for almost three years since it saw a successful Kickstarter campaign. How could it expand upon the idea of Frog Fractions, a game whose premise is that it isn't what it says it is? The short answer is it can't. The longer answer includes that it's admirable Twinbeard tried anyway.

Hidden away in fairy village-building simulator Glittermitten Grove, it takes an hour or so of collecting resources, expanding reach, and exploring tunnels to get to the real meat. Once I finally found out how to progress, I geared myself up for the ride I knew I was about to be taken on.

Finishing the Glittermitten part spits players into an ASCII art adventure game called TXT WORLD. It's ugly and unwieldy, like you'd expect from an ASCII art game. That's part of the charm at first. Navigating through the realm brings players to the next minigame portion, again with completely different aesthetics and mechanics. Finish that and it's back to TXT WORLD.

Oh no. Unlike the original Frog Fractions, which follows a linear path and never doubles back, this one has a hub world. And it's not just any old hub world; it's an obtuse, confusing, ugly place. Of all the various parts of Frog Fractions 2, it's one of my least favorite, but that's exacerbated because it's where most of the time is spent.

As a collection of completely disjointed minigames, it has its highs and lows. Some games feel like there could really be something to them with focused development, like the real-time strategy chess game. Others crank up the weird for weird's sake knob and aren't worth a second look, like the one that has players matching pitch into a microphone in order to make a car move slowly across the screen.

One in particular stood out as a casualty of the development time. It crosses Flappy Bird with Cookie Clicker in a concept that is worth a chuckle but feels like a joke delivered three years late. Were this section not part of a fully fledged, downloadable collection of minigames but instead an instantly shareable standalone browser game, it might have been able to deliver its parody when the games it's lampooning were relevant in the population's minds.

Thankfully, after a certain point in TXT WORLD all of the discovered minigames are freely selectable, so anything can be experienced again if desired. The thing is, there isn't much desire here. Most of the games are cute ideas to think about but aren't actually entertaining to play.

There was one especially memorable section near the end featuring a frog who spoke his own language that needed to be deciphered. It's the culmination of everything before it, where each of the unexplained collectibles throughout is its own word, and players have to complete a conversation with him to finish everything off. It was the first time it felt like I was actually doing something rather than having random events happen to me.

The frog conversation was a bit too little, too late. By the time the credits rolled, I was over it. Reflecting back, I might have enjoyed the fairy village section more than the "real" game. I definitely liked Frog Fractions 2 better when it was a complete unknown, and it could have been anything. There's no way it could have lived up to the years of speculation and wonder.

Making games takes time and money. Making a game for three years takes a lot of it. I can't begrudge Twinbeard (or publisher Adult Swim Games) for charging $20 for what obviously took a lot of time and money to produce. But the fact that it is downloadable for that sum (or any sum, really) is antithetical to its core.

The original Frog Fractions could be passed from person to person with no barrier to entry. "Hey, try this weird game" is all one had to say. And on its surface it looks regular weird, but those who dug found something special weird. This can't happen with Frog Fractions 2. "Try this weird game" is met with "why is this worth spending money on?"

Divulging the why destroys the magic. Saying "because it's Frog Fractions 2" sets expectations. Those expectations make every surprise unsurprising. Without the element of surprise, Frog Fractions 2 is just a collection of mostly bad minigames. There was magic with the original game, but that trick only works once.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer. The reviewer is credited in it for backing it on Kickstarter.]

You are logged out. Login | Sign up

 
 

 

Frog Fractions 2 reviewed by Darren Nakamura

4

BELOW AVERAGE

Has some high points, but they soon give way to glaring faults. Not the worst, but difficult to recommend.
How we score:  The destructoid reviews guide

 
 
 

TwitterRedditEmailFacebook
 
Darren Nakamura
Darren NakamuraAssociate Editor   gamer profile

Darren is a scientist during the day. He has been a Destructoid community member since 2006, joining the front page as a contributor in 2011. While he enjoys shooters, RPGs, platformers, strateg... more + disclosures


 


 


Also on destructoid: Frog Fractions 2   (5)   From our database:

  • Review: Frog Fractions 2 - Darren Nakamura
  • Frog Fractions 2 holds a Mass Effect easter egg - Peter Glagowski
  • The jig is up: Frog Fractions 2 has been unveiled - Kevin McClusky
  • Where in the world is Frog Fractions 2? - Jordan Devore
  • Frog Fractions 2 funded, Rock Band mic support looking unlikely - Jordan Devore
  • Frog Fractions 2 adds $2B stretch goal to buy Oculus VR back from Facebook - Darren Nakamura
  • Is there a Frog Fractions 2 ARG already underway? - Alasdair Duncan
  • Mysterious Frog Fractions 2 takes to Kickstarter - Jordan Devore
  • More related stories
    Filed under... #PC #Reviews #Weird Games

    READER COMMENTS LOADING BELOW...


    LET'S KEEP THE COMMUNITY GREAT


    You're not expected to always agree, but do please keep cool and never make it personal. Report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community team. Also, on the right side of a comment you can flag nasty comments anonymously (we ban users dishing bad karma). For everything else, contact us!



     
     
  •